Co-lab Resources

Students, faculty, and staff involved in the Community Resilience Co-lab at UC Irvine have compiled the below resources. As a learning community, we use these resources, among others, to help deepen and challenge our understandings of community resilience. Please feel free to use and share. To add to these resources, or to convey questions or feedback, please use our contact form.

Disabled People Cannot Be “Expected Losses” in the Climate CrisisThis article by Julia Watts Belser written in 2019 underscores the vital message that no body is disposable. Belser condemns the ableism and inequality that allow climate change to be a death sentence for so many, and underscores the idea that their deaths are not personal tragedies, but public failures. “If we persist in framing disability and climate change as a problem of physical vulnerability, we miss the underlying realities of structural violence: how ableism, racism, class inequality and other forms of oppression work together to compound and intensify risk.”

Mutual Aid for the End of the World  – In the words of late poet June Jordan “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” In this interview by Pflug-Back written in 2019, Myriad Augustine discusses how folks with disabilities are often the most equipped to carry out acts of mutual aid – “every single person I know with a chronic health, mobility, and/or psychiatric issue of any kind has created adaptive tools using [the] materials at their disposal and navigated emotional crises that more privileged people have never experienced.” Mutual aid is the idea that marginalized communities can and should “take care of each other through co-operation, not competition… not just through symbolic acts or putting pressure on their representatives in government, but by actually building new social relations that are more survivable.” This kind of community support is vital when we acknowledge that disaster aid provided by the state is often privatized and inaccessible.

“I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.” – Climate justice activist Heglar wrote this essay in 2019 on overcoming the shame of being a consumer in our fossil-fuel driven economy, and directing that shame instead towards fossil fuel industries and the U.S. government. She explains that we all should still try to contribute individually to the climate justice movement if we can, but stronger effects will be found if we come together as a community to fight the massive corporate contributions to the problem.

Freedom is a Constant Struggle – In this collection of essays written in 2016 by renowned author and activist Angela Davis, solidarity is highlighted over the history of past and present global struggles for liberation. Davis offers an insightful analysis on and connections between police brutality, mass incarceration, and global oppression in order to encourage an understanding of how to build successful transnational movements against global racism and capitalism.

Climate Justice Is Racial Justice Is Gender Justice – In this Fall 2017 article, prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben interviews Jacqui Patterson, who is the director of the NAACP’s national work on environmental and climate justice. Jacqui reflects on grassroots struggles she has observed in her decades of work. Jacqui was one of the panelists at UCI’s April 2017 New Narratives event Standing Rock Is Everywhere. This article is part of a special issue of YES! Magazine focused on “just transition.” View more of that issue here.

‘Deep Democracy’ — A Cure For Climate Change And Economic Inequality? This brief article summarizes Heather McGhee’s speech in October 2017 at the annual Bioneers Conference. Heather is a policy analyst, activist, and social critic. She directs DEMOS, a public policy group focused on climate change, inequality, and democratic reform. In her speech, McGhee “attributed the nation’s failure to solve climate change to those who have been in power for the past 40 years and used a culture of racism to foster national divisions along racial, religious, economic, and gender lines.” She also explained the devastating effect climate change is expected to have on millennials’ economic future (see the full report here).

Higher Education for a Post-Growth World – This June 2017 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education questions whether universities have truly adopted a sustainable outlook if they are still banking on adding more students and expanding their facilities. This is a good resource for learning about the term “post-growth.”

Toward Love, Healing, Resilience & Alignment: The Inner Work of Social Transformation and Justice – The magazine Nonprofit Quarterly published this article as part of a series by a consulting firm called the Management Assistance Group in May 2017. The article focuses on “inner work,” the personal growth that activists undertake at an individual level to keep themselves going in collective social justice struggles.

How To Turn Neighborhoods Into Nubs of Resilience – This April 2017 article in Nation of Change was written by staff from the Movement Strategy Center (MSC). MSC coordinates activists from many movements toward a broader effort to “fundamentally transition from a world of domination and extraction to a world of regeneration, resilience, and interdependence.” This piece shares community resilience stories from three places around the United States.

The Fictions and Futures of Transformative Justice – This April 2017 article in Nation of Change was written by staff from the Movement Strategy Center (MSC). MSC coordinates activists from many movements toward a broader effort to “fundamentally transition from a world of domination and extraction to a world of regeneration, resilience, and interdependence.” This piece shares community resilience stories from three places around the United States.

‘Just Racist:’ EPA Cuts Will Hit Black and Hispanic Communities the Hardest – This March 2017 article in The Guardian covers President Trump’s attempts to pull back on federal action on environmental justice by cutting the budget of the office of environmental justice. This office was created in 1994 when President Clinton signed an executive order on environmental justice that directed all federal agencies to create a plan for addressing environmental justice in their operations.

Letter to the Environmental Community, from Students of Color – In March 2017, the Students of Color Environmental Collective at UC Berkeley published this letter where they define “environmental racism” and how they have experienced it in a white-dominated environmental conversation on campus. This is a great resource because students use their own words and knowledge to demand change toward a more inclusive environmental movement.

Eight Up-And-Coming Black Leaders in the Climate Movement – This February 2017 piece highlights the work of eight Black activists around the country who are using climate justice to empower their communities.

The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race – This book looks to provide ways marginalized communities can heal, restore and repair their trauma, and shares the stories of challenges faced by our ancestors and parents as well as their contributions to American infrastructure, culture, and economy. This book also discusses the opportunity for new strategies for poverty alleviation, the creation of opportunities, and equity building since the nature of the city is radically changing.

Revolutionary Love – This video from that last night of 2016 is an excerpt of a talk by storyteller Valarie Kaur. In this moment, “what if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?” she asks.

The Problem with that Equity Graphic – If you’re interested in learning about the difference between the terms “equity” and “equality,” this November 2016 post from Cultural Organizing is a good resource. It uses a popular graphic to unpack some of the misconceptions about equity and defines other common terms as well.

How Environmental Injustice Connects to Police Violence – This July 2016 article from the online magazine CityLab is by Brentin Mock, a journalist who writes about the intersection of racial justice and environmental issues. The article explores how Black communities experience the health effects of toxic pollution and police violence at the same time. The article features the work of UC Davis faculty members.

The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture – Nora Saraman published this piece on her blog in February 2016. It explores gender roles, violence, and what she calls “nurturance” to highlight how we can work together to stop violence against women.

Why #BlackLivesMatter Should Transform the Climate Debate  – Naomi Klein published this piece on The Nation in December 2014.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants  – Robin Wall Kimmerer, mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi nation, wrote this book in 2013. In Braiding Sweetgrass, “she intertwines [ ] two modes of awareness–the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural–to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring people back into conversation with all that is green and growing: a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen.”

Transition Is Inevitable, Justice Is Not: A Critical Framework For Just RecoveryMovement Generation’s principles for a Just Recovery, published in 2017, include addressing the structural inequality that contributes to environmental injustice, asserting community rights to their own resources and their ability to self-govern through organizing and mutual aid, valuing ecological well-being of our land, and providing reparations to Black and Indigenous folks for centuries of colonialism, genocide and slavery.

Staying Above Water: Global Migration in the Face of Climate CrisisThis zine published in 2019 prioritizes a people-centered analysis of the climate crisis, highlighting how those who have contributed least to climate change are likely to face the most destruction from it. It details how we must adopt internationally open borders in order to allow those communities to migrate if they so choose in order to escape from the violence of climate change. Examples from Vietnam, the Newtok village in Alaska, the Pacific atoll of Kiribati, and the Northern Triangle of Central America are discussed in an effort to explain how communities on the frontlines of climate change can best be supported in their migration and adaptation strategies.

Environmental Injustice Behind Bars: Toxic Imprisonment in America This 2018 report by the Global Environmental Justice Project considers how the U.S. prison system and immigration detention centers disproportionately expose people of color to environmental hazards (such as extreme heat, wildfires, hazardous waste, etc), food injustice, extreme violence and sexual abuse.The report underscores the “evolution from slavery to convict leasing to modern day prison labor” and the clear and extreme violation of human rights that occurs every day across our country through the prison industrial complex.

Leading with 100 Year Vision Six years ago Movement Strategy Center gathered movement leaders to explore the ways that embodied wisdom could generate untapped possibility, potential, and power in the work toward social, economic, and ecological justice. In the six years since then, over 200 movement leaders from across the country have taken part in these gatherings, with experiences that have rippled out into innovation. This booklet offers the first-person stories of 13 of those leaders reflecting on what they discovered (and re-discovered) in the gatherings, and how their experience shaped the work they are doing today.

From Banks and Tanks to Cooperation and Caring: A Strategic Framework for a Just Transition – This 2017 report is from the Justice & Ecology Project of Movement Generation. The zine is a training tool that offers a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members.  It is full of visuals, stand-alone sections, and curriculum ideas. A Just Transition requires us to build a visionary economy for life in a way that is very different than the economy we are in now. Constructing this visionary economy calls for strategies that democratize, decentralize and diversify economic activity while we damper down consumption, and (re)distribute resources and power.  This zine is a point of departure for people interested in building collective vision and action towards Ecological Justice that does not separate humans from nature, or social equity from ecological integrity.

Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning: A Framework – This 2017 report is from the National Association of Climate Resilience Planners (NACRP), a network of urban planning professionals who are identifying strategies for putting vulnerable communities first in their work. This report will be useful for students interested in civic engagement and urban planning processes.

The Practices of Transformative Movements Building – This is a 2016 report from the Movement Strategy Center, outlining steps toward becoming a “transformative movement,” or a group that puts an awareness of the interconnected nature of people and problems at the heart of its work.

UCI Regional Climate Resilience Project: “Deconstructing Resilience”  – The Deconstructing Resilience Project is the product of a ten-week UCI Regional Climate Resilience Internship. Danilo Caputo, a doctoral student in English and Climate Action Training fellow at UC Irvine, conducted research into the definition(s) and meaning(s) of resilience (climate and others) across sectors and disciplines. By analyzing the myriad definitions and connotations associated with the term “resilience,” the project aims to increase our understanding of the term in order to guide interactions with diverse communities and direct continued discursive and formative processes associated with regional collaboration.

Pathways to Resilience: Transforming Cities in a Changing Climate – Also from the Movement Strategy Center and other partners, this 2015 report offers great background information on what “climate resilience” means. They put a special emphasis on “bouncing forward” into a stronger future, rather than “bouncing back” from getting knocked down by challenges.

Love With Power: Practicing Transformation for Social Justice – A literary piece from Movement Strategy Center that discusses the many different US based resistance organizers and how they practice transformative movements, as opposed to trying to change existing systems. The text explores many stories of resistance and how to strategically confront crisis with hope and love through mind, body and spirit. Read more here:

Healing-Centered Youth Organizing: A Framework for Youth Leadership in the 21st Century – This 2014 paper by Nicole Lee for Urban Peace Movement offers guidance on how to confront the criminalization of young people and instead put them at the center of anti-violence work.

Out of the Spiritual Closet – This report, the first of MSC’s series on Transformative Movement Building, dives into the experiences of individual social justice leaders as they integrate spiritual, creative or otherwise transformative practice into their lives and social justice work. The report introduces Transformative Movement Building as an approach and framework, provides a cultural analysis of where the social justice movement is stuck and how it is being transformed through intentional practice and showcases the stories of leaders who have begun their own transformations.

What is Transformation? – The paper examines the challenges and solutions involved in changing the way change is made. It explains the value of a transformative, systems-based approach to organizational change, with quotes and stories from social and environmental justice leaders and thinkers, some of which will surprise you. This publication is an engaging introduction to how we can transform our organizations, our movements, and our world for the better.

Movement Building Webinar Series – This series of six webinars features leaders of various social movements as they explore elements of transformative movement building. These webinars are a good complement to the Movement Strategy Center’s Practices of Transformative Movements report (see description and link above). To find the webinars, scroll down to the “webinars” section of this Move to End Violence page.

The North Pole is a political comedy web series about three best friends born and raised in North Oakland, CA, who struggle to stay rooted as their neighborhood becomes a hostile environment. Across seven outrageous episodes, Nina, Marcus, and Benny fight, dream, and plot hilarious schemes to save the place they call home. Facing both gentrification and global warming, they combat evil landlords, crazy geoengineering plots, and ultimately each other. Written and produced by Josh Healey, directed by Yvan Iturriaga, the series is executive produced by Movement Generation and co-produced by Darren Colston.

In the Air – A feature film in which artists from the Gulf Coast use dance, spoken word, and visual art to tell stories of environmental justice.

Detroit Interviews: Charity Hicks on environmental racism in Detroit – Interview with Charity Hicks, who was a beloved Detroit community leader and commons advocate. She was a founder of the Detroit People’s Water Board, and led opposition to the city shutting off water to low-income Detroit residents. Hicks was involved in many other local and national campaigns for the environment, water, social justice and food security and helped found the Great Lakes Commons network with many other organizations from around the lakes, including On The Commons.

The Garden – A film about South Central Farmers, highlights the politics of community-based activism and documents an important case of city-sponsored displacement.

Dolores – About Dolores Huerta. In the 1950’s, a working-class wife and mother of eleven children helps to establish a farmer’s union, which later develops into a platform for feminism and gender equality.

Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek – The painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.

Rise: Standing Rock (Parts 1&2) – Viceland’s passionate docuseries is injustice; the rights of a dispossessed, persecuted race abused by the State and corporations in avaricious pursuit of natural resources. Resistance at Standing Rock to the Dakota Access Pipeline through Sioux ancestral lands creates a pan-tribal protest. Hope is embodied in an alliance of women.

The Story of Stuff – Story of Stuff aims to expose the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls for people to band together to create a more sustainable and just world.

Urban Roots – A small group of dedicated citizens have started an urban environmental movement with the potential to transform a city. With the most vacant lots in the country, Detroiters are reclaiming their spirits by growing food.

An American Ascent – The film addresses often overlooked issues of race and the outdoors as it follows the team up the mountain, chronicling the many challenges of climbing one of the world’s most iconic peaks.

City of Trees – Since 1990, nonprofit Washington Parks & People has tried to reduce poverty and violence in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods by improving parks. At the height of the recession, the organization received a stimulus grant to create a “green” job-training program in communities hardest hit.

The Water Front – The Water Front follows the personal journey of Vallory Johnson, who transforms her anger into an emotional grassroots campaign, defending affordable water as a human right in Highland Park, Michigan.

Standing Rock is Everywhere – With Standing Rock as a focal point, this Spring 2017 event brought perspective to the UCI campus as communities respond to enduring and intersecting crises of Indigenous, environmental, racial and social injustice. Panelists lifted up ways that Standing Rock has become a catalyst for intersectional analysis and movement building across issue and geography. Features leaders from Black Lives Matter, Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, NAACP, and Communities for a Better Environment.

Beyond Recognition – After decades struggling to protect her ancestors’ burial places, now engulfed by San Francisco’s sprawl, a Native woman from a non-federally recognized Ohlone tribe and her allies occupy a sacred site to prevent its desecration. When this life-altering event fails to stop the development, they vow to follow a new path- to establish the first women-led urban Indigenous land trust.

March Point – March Point follows three teenagers from the Swinomish reservation who come to understand themselves, their community and the threat their people face.

Save Snoqualmie Falls – A film about protecting Snoqualmie Falls – their clean water sources, their forest lands and their open spaces, and respecting the lands deemed sacred by local Indian Tribes.

Maiden of Deception Pass – The documentary The Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of Her Samish People tells her story and how tribal history inspires generations of Samish people.

Garbage Dreams – Filmed over the course of four years, Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. It is the home to 60,000 Zaballeen, Arabic for “garbage people.” Far ahead of any modern “Green” initiatives, the Zaballeen survive by recycling 80 percent of the garbage they collect.

Plastic China – This film tells a story about an unschooled 11-year-old girl Yi-Jie, she’s a truly global child who learns the world through the United Nations of Wastes while working with her YI minority parents in this recycle workshop thousand miles away from their mountain village home town.

Even In the Rain – Inspired by the real-life Water Wars in Bolivia in the year 2000, EVEN THE RAIN explores the lasting effects of Spanish imperialism, still resonating some 500 years later in the continued struggle of indigenous people against oppression and exploitation.

Blue Golds: World Water Wars – This film examines environmental and political implications of the planet’s dwindling water supply and showcases how wars in the future will be fought over water.

Coal Country – Coal Country takes a look at the opinions of miners who are working along with activists who are battling coal companies in Appalachia and working miners working with coal company officials who are concerned about jobs and the economy.

Flow – Along with identifying The World Water Crisis, Flow gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and developing new technologies which are becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

Food, Inc. – This film unveils America’s food industry, showing how the nation’s supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers, and the environment.

GASLAND – This film documents filmmaker Josh Fox on a cross-country journey that uncovers a trail of secrets, lies, and contamination. One of many contamination stories that Fox discovers is residents of a Pennsylvania town who reports that they are able to light their drinking water on fire.

Sisters on the Planet – The film tells the story of four women, Martina-Uganda, Muriel-Brazil, Sharon-Mississippi, and Sahena-Bangladesh and their fight different struggles brought on by climate change in their respective communities.

The Story of Cap and Trade – The film introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this issue and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals, such as, free permits to big polluters and fake offsets.

Water Warriors – Water Warriors is the story of a community’s successful fight to protect their water from the oil and natural gas industry.

Who Killed the Electric Car – This film paints the picture of an industrial culture whose aversion to change and reliance on oil may be deeper than its ability to embrace ready solutions.

A Civil Action – The families of children who died sue two companies for dumping toxic waste: a tort so expensive to prove, the case could bankrupt their lawyers.

A Fierce Green Fire – The first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change.

An Inconvenient Truth – An Inconvenient Truth presents in film form an illustrated talk on climate by Al Gore, aimed at alerting the public to an increasing “planetary emergency” due to global warming, and shows re-enacted incidents from his life story which influenced his concerns about environmental issues.


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UCI students discuss the elements of a regenerative economy in the advanced community resilience organizing seminar. The seminar draws from some of the resources listed here.